Education department performs poorly in execution of central schemes

The School Education department has performed poorly in execution of centrally-sponsored schemes for construction of school buildings and other infrastructure.

Under the schemes the department was meant to set-up new schools, library blocks, art and craft rooms besides other buildings approved as “strengthening components” for schools having dearth of classrooms.

An official said these civil works were approved by Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) under erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) scheme.

“The works were never started. The officials at zonal and district level proposed construction of buildings and approval of new schools without following basic parameters like availability of land for construction of the buildings,” an official said.

The issue was discussed in the Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting chaired by Union Secretary School Education and literacy in June this year at New Delhi.

The meeting was convened to consider the annual work plan and budget (AWP&B), 202O-21 for the J&K.

As per the minutes of the meeting, around 68,224 school buildings have been approved by the MHRD since 2009-10, up to elementary level. But, the official said the work was yet to be started on 10,084 buildings while work on 2,195 buildings was under progress.

Another official said 682 new schools were approved by the MHRD after up gradation of Primary Schools to Upper Primary Schools of which only 317 buildings have been completed so far.

“Construction work on 156 buildings is in progress while as work on 209 have not been started yet,” read the minutes of the meeting.

Of 409 additional classrooms approved, work on 298 rooms was yet to be taken up. While the work on 82 classrooms has been completed the work was in progress on 29 classrooms, reads the official document.

The department has also failed to complete construction of science laboratories, computer rooms, library blocks and art and craft rooms in the government schools.

“Around 82 civil works were approved in schools upgraded to Higher Secondary level but the work has not been started on any building till date,” read the minutes.